Life activities among the elderly: Results of “Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities (Questionnaire A), 2006″ vol.1

Life activities among the elderly: Results of “Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities (Questionnaire A), 2006″

Kaoru Higashikawa
Associate professor, Yokkaichi Nursing and Medical Care University
Former chief researcher, Japan Aging Research Center)

The results of “Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities (Questionnaire A), 2006″ were announced on July 9th, 2007. This paper will compare these data with previous survey data. In particular, this paper will discuss the changing life activities among the elderly and characteristics of the activities which have been stable over the years.

It should be noted that the survey in 2006 divides people aged 70 and over into 2 groups: aged 70-74 and 75+, where as the survey in 2001 only has 1 category for this age group (i.e., aged 70 and over). When comparing the data between 2001 and 2006, the author compiled the 2006 data of those aged 70 and over into 1 group.

*What is “Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities”?
The Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities aims to obtain comprehensive data on daily patterns of time allocation and on leisure activities. The survey was first carried out in 1976, and it has been conducted every five years.
This paper presents the results of Questionnaire A (pre-coded survey), mainly on activities in free time among 180,000 subjects.
The results of Questionnaire B (time use by detailed activity coding) will become available in September, 2007.

*Terminology
 Number of participants: The number of people who are engaged in a specific activity (aged 10 and over)
Participation rate: Number of participants/Estimated population aged 10 and over (%)
 Average days for participation: The average number of days for which participants are engaged in a specific activity in the previous year.

Reference: Japan Statistics Bureau web site

Life activities among the elderly: Results of “Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities (Questionnaire A), 2006″ vol.2

Significant growth of internet use among the elderly

Figure: Participation rate in internet use among the elderly (%) 
graph

 Compared with the results in 2001, the participation rate in internet use is higher among those aged 60 and over, regardless of working status and age subgroup. The growth rate is particularly significant (over 250%) among those who are not working and aged 65+. Along with development of information technology, we are seeing so-called “digital divide.” As far as the elderly are concerned, the survey results show their rapid adaptation to the IT society.

Life activities among the elderly: Results of “Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities (Questionnaire A), 2006″ vol.3

Participation growth in studies and researches

Figure: Participation rate in studies and researches among the elderly (%) 
graph

Compared with the 2001 data, the data in 2006 show the growth of participation rate in studies and researches among the elderly, regardless of working status and age subgroup.

It seems that life activities of the elderly are shifting from passive leisure activities (e.g., watching TV) to more independent activities (e.g., studies and researches) which are based on their intellectual curiosity.